Reorganizing Our Program Staff to Better Support Those Who Serve Our Mission

January 30, 2020
New York-New Jersey Trail Conference


Reorganizing Our Program Staff to Better Support Those Who Serve Our Mission
The Trail Conference's West Jersey Crew works on the Appalachian Trail's Pochuck Boardwalk in Vernon, N.J. Photo Credit: John Pappas


For 99 years, Trail Conference volunteers have been providing millions of trail users with a means to explore the outdoors. The culture of volunteerism at the Trail Conference has become the fabric of our organization. It is our legacy—a legacy that will continue into our second century.

Our volunteers make us the vibrant and impactful nonprofit that ensures the public has access to the most diverse network of trails in any metropolitan area. We are committed to supporting and enhancing our volunteer program now more than ever, which is why we have reorganized our program staff.

Effective Jan. 16, 2020:

  • New York and New Jersey will each have one dedicated Program Coordinator
    • Sona Mason remains a Program Coordinator.
    • The posting for the open Program Coordinator position can be found on our Jobs page.
  • Peter Dolan has stepped into the new Trail Program Manager role. He will take on the obligation of supporting interstate agencies, larger government partnerships, and fellow outdoor organizations which previously fell to Program Coordinators. He will manage our long-distance trails and provide consistency at all Regional Trail Council (RTC) meetings.
  • Hank Osborn is our new Director of Programs. He is accountable to the Executive Director for evaluating, supervising, and executing the organization’s key programmatic objectives.
  • Kendra Baumer has been promoted to Senior Engagement Manager. The Engagement Team will continue to support service activities and opportunities in both states. They will also continue to support the work of our volunteers in our ecological stewardship programs, which will still be under the direction of Linda Rohleder.

The creation of these new positions will take some of the agency-oriented tasks off the plate of Program Coordinators, allowing them to focus their time on supporting volunteers, local partners, workshops, and events.

This clarification will allow individual staff to focus on their specific roles clearly with less competing priorities. This should lead to better support and clearer lines of communication for both volunteer committees and partner organizations and agencies.

We are operating in a changing environment, both literally and figuratively. Our partners count on us to stay focused on issues that affect parks in the region, bringing together key constituencies, marshaling resources, and seizing opportunities to keep improving our public trail systems while maintaining the ecological integrity of trail lands. And so, with more than 2,000 volunteers serving as the engine that powers the organization’s ability to create great trail experiences, we have been able to adapt and evolve.

We are sure there will be several questions as we make this adjustment in our operating structure, but one thing will not change, now or in the future: our commitment to supporting and empowering volunteers. We are grateful for their passion, dedication, and service.

For the time being, volunteers should continue to use their previous Program Coordinator (New Jersey: Peter; East Hudson/Metro/Catskills: Hank; West Hudson: Sona) as their primary point of contact for all things related to their committee role.

Please direct any questions regarding these changes to Hank ([email protected]) and Peter ([email protected]).